Yes, it’s Mad Men Sunday. Had a few drinks. Feeling pretty nice right now. My God, what a brilliant episode. Yes, a few things were fucked up, especially towards the end. Regardless, I was pretty blown away by the actual marketing-related scenes. Great ep.
Enough about Mad Men…so how the hell does this relate to CrossFit?
Alright, so I just watched this clip from Conan where Jon Hamm, the guy who plays the lead role of Don Draper, on Mad Men. For those of you who don’t watch the show, Don is basically the typical alpha male set in the 1960s.
You’d think the guy playing Don was some star for quite some time, right?
Check out the interview here:
For you lazy shitheads, here are the Sparknotes of the interview: Jon was your typical starving actor in LA, and it took him years for his big break on Mad Men. Seriously, the guy had to drive an ’86 Corolla for some time (hits home cause my first car was a ’97 Corolla), which was then taken by the city for his endless stream of late parking tickets. So he took the bus, and when he was close enough to his audition or wherever he had to go, Jon ROLLERBLADED to the place.
When you think of Jon Hamm and his work, you think the guy just had instant success. It obviously didn’t happen overnight.
So when you’re frustrated with something at the box, don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it get to you. Just keep learning from your mistakes and improving. It’s been a little over 2 years since I’ve started CrossFitting in a class environment, and I remember how much I struggled with so many things.
Getting ONE kipping pull up seemed hopeless. Stringing a few singles with the jump rope seemed impossible. A muscle up felt too far in the future for me.
Nevertheless, I kept at it. I’d ask coaches and other classmates for tips. I’d study my mistakes and try out my improvements. I’d test out one new variable at a time to fully understand what I was doing wrong.
Yes, this sounds sort of intense, but I wanted to improve BAD. It fuckin sucked being the last person to finish in class. It hurt my ego using the various colored bands to do pull ups. I NEVER wanted to settle.
Even if my improvements were small and gradual, they were consistent. To me and others, nothing much seemed to be happening. I just kept showing up and doing my thing. Before I knew it, I was doing butterflies, getting 50+ unbroken dubs, and so many others things I thought were impossible.
The only limiting factor is really YOU.
A lot of people out there who hear of your goals and aspiration may think you’re crazy. They may put you down and try to “knock some sense” into you. Well, you know what? It’s okay to be crazy and dream big as long as you make those dreams a reality.
That’s the beautiful thing about CrossFit. It helps you break down so many barriers you and others have set for yourself. These barrier might have been there for years. Hey…it’s better late than never, right?
Keep your mind on your goals. Sure, you may have some off days. You may not PR every time. Just believe in YOU. Don’t let those small things get in the way.
Many of us have had life-changing experiences through CrossFit. The first phase might be through weight loss, which is an awesome thing. However, the most important aspect and a by-product of this is the confidence you gain in yourself.
I look back at where I was over 2 years ago. Graduation was only a few months away. I had no idea what I wanted to do career-wise, as I wasn’t really a fan of where I was heading. At the time, I was still getting over a pretty serious breakup. Shit was pretty heavy at the time haha. CrossFit took all that garbage, inspired me to take a complete 180 with everything, and despite all the initial struggles and risks, I’ve never been in such a good position in my life.
You can call me a dreamer, especially since I dream BIG. However, thanks to CrossFit, I’ve become the kind of person who just goes for it. Failing happens, as it’s part of the journey. Anyone can dream. I take those dreams and make them happen.
Sure, the initial foray into my dream path has been quite rocky, but I know I’m gonna make it.
And you know what’s cool? You’re a part of it. You’re helping me make this dream a reality. I hope I can inspire you to fuckin crush it as well 🙂
I’ve read a few things here and there about having a morning ritual. Back when I used to preview the corporate world with internships, I was always in a rush. Sometimes I keep disabling every alarm I set on my phone, only to wake up too late. I’m scrambling to brew some coffee or prepare a quick breakfast. I have to shave. Shower. All that jazz. The clock shows that I have only a few minutes left before. I have. To leave.
Shit, that was frantic. And you know what? It was my fault for waking up late, putting certain tasks to the last minute, and for not giving myself enough time to get ready. I’ll admit that that happens to me quite often before heading to the box. Either I’ll try to finish one last task before heading out or I’ll get distracted by some random YouTube video, resulting in coming late to class. It’s always funny cause either the coach or some of my friends would give me a hard time.
“Whoaaaaaa! Look who showed up!”
“Acts like he’s hot shit, huh?”
“Way to show up on time, buddy!”
Honestly, it’s been a bad habit of mine to procrastinate a lot of things. That would simply make me life’s bitch. I’d be stressed the fuck out all the time. I’d be disappointed in the amount of work I’ve accomplished (if any at all). I’d be on a bad vibe. That’s why last night I decided to postpone my usual midnight post to get a good night’s sleep.
This morning, I woke up and started somewhat of a routine.
Actually, I did include a 10 minute meditation period in my new morning routine. The routine of course will evolve over time, but I feel this new start is necessary. I was inspired by this bit of Tim Ferriss’ “A Day In The Life” video:
I started off with my usual cup of black coffee then went into my 10 minute meditation sesh. Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck you’re supposed to do when you meditate, so I just focused on a few things:
1) Getting certain work-related tasks finished
2) Organizing thoughts that came from a discussion with a friend at lunch yesterday
3) PR’ing my motherfuckin squat clean today
Haha yes…we have a 1 rep max squat clean in today’s WOD, and that’s basically my main goal for the day. My previous PR was 235#, yet I was able to nail a power clean of that on Monday.
During my meditation, I took whatever negative thoughts were flowing through my mind then channeled them into my desire to PR. There were actually several small negativities lying here and there, and they actually do add up to a lot when you combine them. Well, rather than have that negativity affect my life for the worse, I’m going to use it to my advantage. Get work done and squat clean that barbell like I never have before.
It’s unfortunate that most of the statuses of your peers that you see on Facebook and Twitter are downers. They can be anything from complaints or anything with a suggestion of negative vibes. Not cool, right? That can also influence your attitude and how you carry on with your everyday life.
While meditation may not be for everyone and it might be hard for most people to have some sort of calm, routine to start off the day, find some time in your day just to sit back and think. Even 10 minutes should be enough. Let things simmer down. Let things settle. You never know…you might find solutions to problems that have been bugging you all day or fo quite some time.
Whatever you do, try to find those good vibes. Use those negative thoughts and feelings to fuel the good you plan to do in your day. This is just one of the many ways you can flip the script. Most people think life’s a bitch. It’s only what you make of it, right? So why not make life YOUR bitch?
Working out on my own before joining the box was a whole different story. I was still picking up the basics, so I had no pressure. In the class environment, however, I actually got butterflies before every WOD. True story.
But…wtf? Why? I honestly don’t know why. There must be many reasons, and I’m sure I wasn’t alone. I was just talking to one of my buddies in class, and he was saying the same thing. Sure, I still get nervous in a competitive-like environment when your whole box is throwing down for something like the Opens or Garage Games or something along those lines. It just happens, but once you go for that first rep of a movement, it’s all good.
Really. What could it be?
This is a big one. When I used to go to a globo or work out at the school gym, I was always conscious of the “lookers”. That’s one of the reasons back then I kept to pretty standard lifts or movements I was comfortable with. It was bad enough trying to learn the basics like squats and cleans. I didn’t even attempt learning stuff like snatches (ha…ha…) until I joined the box. There’s just that fear of what people would think of me trying a weird movement with just the bar or with barely any weight.
It was the worst at my school gym. Just imagine all these Jersey Shore-type guys constantly staring at themselves in the mirrors when they’re not giving you weird looks when doing CrossFit workouts lol.
I suppose that kind of feeling stuck with me a bit even once I started CrossFitting in a class. You see all these ridiculously good looking people in your class lifting those weights and moving their bodies in crazy ways. They make it look like nothing. You’re afraid of what they think of you starting out.
Whenever I see that newbie trying something like a clean, only to awkwardly curl it up, drop it, then look around to make sure no one saw their bungle, I see myself in him or her. That was part of the learning curve for me: to not give a shit. Not giving a shit is the key to opening SO MANY doors in your life. It’ll help you take down that initial mental barrier to reach new heights, whether inside or outside the box.
2011 CrossFit Games Open Sections: Workout 11.3
Here’s the explanation of the WOD:
5 minute AMRAP of a 165#/110# clean and jerks
Just a little background, there are a few CrossFit boxes in my area, so they alternated each Saturday to host the opens workouts. Admit it. There’s nothing like working out at your own box. You’re in your element: the box’s setup, the equipment, the crowd. It’s your comfort zone. Doing a WOD at an uncomfortable weight for you in a new environment was um…uncomfortable 😛
165# is over my bodyweight, so having to get that overhead is no easy task. I was still pretty new to squat cleans at the time as well. Things weren’t looking too great for me.
I got there early to register and warmup, so there weren’t really a lot of familiar faces. I just kept to myself as I stretched and whatnot. Yeah. I was pretty fuckin nervous all things considered. The turning point for my nervousness before WOD’s came when I was chatting with someone at my box who was competing as well. This guy’s a firefighter and a beast at CrossFit. I believe he made our affiliate team this year.
So I just said to him, “I don’t know man…I’m feeling pretty nervous about this.”
His words pretty much changed my whole perception on the pre-WOD butterflies, “What’s there to be nervous about? You’ve made so many improvements in what? The past year? You have a lot to be proud of. The gym is proud of what you’ve done as well. It makes the gym look good that you’re here competing. And just have fun. Did you picture yourself in this position a year ago?”
Not at all.
That really flipped the switch for me. It was at the perfect time as well. Right before an Opens WOD? So perfect.
I didn’t hit the 10 reps I was hoping for, but I still gave it my all. After that, my perception of CrossFit workouts completely changed.
It’s easy to forget about that, right?
Because of that peptalk and also my pre-workout chitchatting, I no longer feel those butterflies. It’s just another workout. If I totally fuck up a movement or look really awkward doing something, I don’t care. Everyone makes those mistakes. Everyone starts somewhere. This one time during a real burner-type WOD, I fell on my back during thrusters. Before, I would’be been embarrassed, but I just got back up and finished off the rest of my reps.
Failing is part of the game.
Or even CrossFit in general, don’t worry about messing up lifts or movements. Don’t be afraid to start off with really light weights to learn the basics properly. Most guys don’t get this and think that someone just starts deadlifting 405# out of nowhere. Everyone started somewhere, right?
Getting those things out of your mind might get rid of those butterflies. This is a great mentality as well for people who want to start CrossFit but are intimidated by the class environment. We may lift heavy-ass weights, grunt, moan (uh…), and yell while we do, but we’re just everyday people. We kip it real and welcome newcomers with open arms 🙂
First of all, I just wanted to say that I’ve been a fan of Lisbeth Darsh’s blog posts for quite some time. They’re short but sweet. I guess we all have different styles of writing, as I’m all about pounding out a lot of words as they come into mind.
Maybe I’ll try out some shorter blog entries and see how people react to them.
So I’m referring to this post from Lisbeth’s blog that really struck a chord in me. In recent years, I’ve been all about losing my fear of failure. It’s that fear that has held us back in so many things since we were young.
You can thank school for that 😛 Okay, while I think it’s great to have a solid education, and I also believe you can be successful with or without it, the way school works sets many us up for paralysis later on in life.
Whenever you hear the words “fail”, “failing”, or “failure”, you think of getting an F on a test or a report card. All you thought about was avoiding that F and getting those A’s. In elementary school and most of high school, I was an overachiever, so sometimes even if I got an A- on something, I’d flip a shit. That simply stressed me out and got me nowhere. All I thought about were the grades and not failing.
That mentality of avoiding any failing whatsoever held me back in so many aspects of my life. I didn’t tryout for the baseball team in high school cause I thought I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t as friendly and outgoing since I was afraid of what people thought of me. I was afraid of taking any risks.
It wasn’t until college that I realized it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Initially, I thought I was starting to become a fuckup in academics and in certain social aspects of my life, but it was through those mistakes that I matured into the person I am today. If I didn’t take those risks then and now, I’d probably be too afraid to walk into a CrossFit box. For real.
Failure is an end state–a finality, an acceptance of failing. But as long as you’re still trying, you’re not a failure.
That right there summed up years of my thoughts on learning from my mistakes. Failure is the end of a journey. It’s when you give up and back down. Failing is just part of one that’ll continue to move forward. You dust yourself off and try again 🙂 (RIP Aaliyah)
This kind of thinking has really helped me with life in the box and outside the box. Before, I used to be afraid as fuck to get under the bar for any heavy cleans. Now I just go for it. Before, I used to be afraid to talk to random people. Now, for the most part, I absolutely enjoy it. I’m almost energized by it lol.
Reading that post on Lisbeth’s blog brought back many thoughts and events from my past. If I didn’t start facing fear head-on, I don’t know what would happen to me. I’d probably be miserable.
Fortunately, CrossFit came at an important time in my life and flipped my world upside down. Yeah, it was a rocky start, but my life’s a whole lot better because of it.
Kip it real, my friends.